The following is a guest post on a fantastic organized playroom from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.
Below are a few ways I’ve arranged our playroom to fit the needs of my children’s various ages and developments. By that, I mean specifically how to organize toys in a playroom to keep the choking hazards separated from the baby/toddler toys. My girls range from 18 months to 8 years, so you can imagine the amount of small and dangerous 8-year-old toys that must be kept away from the perpetual toy-chewer. :)
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Organizing by height is an obvious way but still worth taking the time to dedicate space above the toddler’s reach for the older child’s sake. I’m still working on some wall-mounted baskets that are out of reach for young children, unfortunately I don’t have those pictures yet. However, one example includes chapter books arranged on the top while board books remain at the bottom of our playroom bookshelf. We also have stacking bins that keep containers of choking hazards on the top tiers and open toddler toys in the bottom bins. Right now the youngest is small enough that she can’t manipulate the bins out of the top two tiers, they’re too heavy and tricky to remove for her. By the time she develops that ability, she’ll be less inclined to chew on small pieces. ;)
Open storage is eye candy for a toddler. Like a moth to a flame, my youngest goes right for things that are at eye level and either open or partially open. She loves bins she can reach into and buckets she can dump out for playing. It’s a developmental stage that she’ll be in for a while, so I worked the room to fit that younger play style.
As for big kid toys, they go in bins that clamp shut. Right now I use THESE (pictured above) because we had them on hand. I know it won’t be long before my Little One learns how to unlatch them. I have yet to find good toddler-proof containers that don’t cost a fortune. Let me know in the comments if you have suggestions, because I fear it won’t be long before little Bella learns a new skill! ;)
“Universal” means that I keep most toys in the open areas of our playroom, available for all to use. Special and fragile toys get separated into “designated” spaces, away from younger children’s reach.
There really is value in how children learn through play, as I’m sure you know. I made certain to have plenty of toys that a variety of age ranges can use creatively. Most of the easily accessible toys are geared towards the toddler age group, but I find older kids still invent imaginative ways to play with things like blocks and so forth.
One example is the set of big cardboard blocks by Melissa & Doug (I ordered them HERE). I keep them in a large pink bucket like THIS ONE. While the baby of the family will play with them by learning to stack, our older daughter uses them to build forts for indoor snowball fights. That’s just one way our playroom is stocked with safe “universal toys” that inspire creativity.
As for the very special big kids toys – collections, fragile items, etc. – those all go to designated spaces. For example, my 8-year-old’s Lego collection and doll accessories are kept in her room. They are too fragile for a toddler to find, so they are given a designated place away from the toy room. Other examples include art supplies and play dough. I can’t trust our explorative toddler to stumble upon those items, so they get placed elsewhere. :)
I hope this post offers some inspiration to the challenge of organizing toys for those with children of multiple ages and developmental skills. I find myself reminding my older daughter that this is a short-lived stage yet very important. We must be mindful of keeping certain toys out of our tiny-toddler-tornado’s reach. It also happens to be a good reminder for myself that organization is never perfect and almost always evolving as life progresses. :)
In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughters. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at UsefulBeautifulHome.com.
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